Wild Wales cover

Wild Wales

George Borrow (1803-1881)

1. Introductory
2. Chapter 1: Proposed Excursion
3. Chapter 2: The Start, Peterborough, Birmingham
4. Chapter 3: Chester
5. Chapter 4: Chester, Camp-meeting
6. Chapter 5: Chester, Book-Stall, Wrexham
7. Chapter 6: Llangollen, the Dee
8. Chapter 7: Llangollen, Lodgings
9. Chapter 8: The Robber’s Leap
10. Chapter 9: Llangollen, Pengwern
11. Chapter 10: The Berwyn
12. Chapter 11: Pont Fadog
13. Chapter 12: Pont y Cysswllt
14. Chapter 13: Llangollen, the Abbey of the Vale of the Cross
15. Chapter 14: Expedition to Ruthyn, the Column
16. Chapter 15: The Turf Tavern, Ruthyn
17. Chapter 16: Return from Ruthyn, Agricola’s Hill
18. Chapter 17: Llangollen, Plas Newydd, Llyn Ceiriog
19. Chapter 18: Llangollen, the Parish Clerk
20. Chapter 19: Llangollen, the Vicar, the Pool of Catherine Lingo, Robber’s Leap
21. Chapter 20: The Valley of Ceiriog, Huw Morris’s Chair, Pont y Meibion
22. Chapter 21: Pandy Teirw
23. Chapter 22: Llangollen Fair
24. Chapter 23: Pont y Pandy, Glendower’s Mount, Corwen
25. Chapter 24: The Rock of Heroes, the Italian at the Inn
26. Chapter 25: On the way to Bangor, the Irishman
27. Chapter 26: Pentre Voelas, the Conway, Swallow Falls, Capel Curig
28. Chapter 27: Bangor
29. Chapter 28: Menai bridges
30. Chapter 29: Snowdon, the Wyddfa
31. Chapter 30: Gronwy Owen
32. Chapter 31: Anglesea, Pentraeth Coch
33. Chapter 32: Llanfair Mathafarn Eithaf, the Birthplace of Gronwy Owen
34. Chapter 33: The Inn at Pentraeth Coch
35. Chapter 34: Conversation at the Inn
36. Chapter 35: A Brilliant Morning
37. Chapter 36: Leaving Pentraeth Coch, Penmynnydd, Tomb of Owen Tudor
38. Chapter 37: Dyffryn Gaint
39. Chapter 38: The Inn at L--
40. Chapter 39: Bound for Holy Head
41. Chapter 40: Caer Gybi
42. Chapter 41: The Pier
43. Chapter 42: Town of Holy Head, Pen Caer Gybi
44. Chapter 43: Bangor, Port Dyn Norwig, Caernarvon
45. Chapter 44: Pont Bettws, Llyn Cwellyn
46. Chapter 45: Inn at Bethgelert
47. Chapter 46: The Valley of Gelert
48. Chapter 47: Tan y Bwlch, Festiniog
49. Chapter 48: Mynydd Mawr and Mynydd Bach, Tref y Talcot
50. Chapter 49: Bala
51. Chapter 50: The Tomen Bala
52. Chapter 51: Back at Llangollen
53. Chapter 52: Llangollen, Attempted Murder
54. Chapter 53: Pen y Coed
55. Chapter 54: Chirk
56. Chapter 55: Llangollen, Some of the Inhabitants
57. Chapter 56: Llangollen, News of the Fall of Sebastopol
58. Chapter 57: Pentré y Dwr
59. Chapter 58: Sunday at Llangollen
60. Chapter 59: Llangollen, History of Twm O’r Nant
61. Chapter 60: Twm O’r Nant, his Interludes
62. Chapter 61: Walk to Wrexham, Methodistical Volume
63. Chapter 62: Rhiwabon Road
64. Chapter 63: Last Night at Llangollen
65. Chapter 64: Departure for South Wales
66. Chapter 65: Inn at Llan Rhyadr
67. Chapter 66: Sycharth
68. Chapter 67: Llan Silin
69. Chapter 68: Llan Silin Church, Tomb of Huw Morris
70. Chapter 69: Church of Llan Rhyadr
71. Chapter 70: Rhyadr, Mountain Scenery
72. Chapter 71: Wild Moors, Arrival at Bala
73. Chapter 72: Bala, The White Lion
74. Chapter 73: Llyn Tegid
75. Chapter 74: Bala to Dinas Mawddwy
76. Chapter 75: Inn at Mallwydd
77. Chapter 76: Mallwydd and its Church, Cemmaes
78. Chapter 77: The Vale of Dyfi
79. Chapter 78: Machynlleth
80. Chapter 79: Machynlleth, Historic Events
81. Chapter 80: Machynlleth to Esgyrn Hirion
82. Chapter 81: The Mining Compting Room
83. Chapter 82: Inn at Pont Erwyd
84. Chapter 83: Conversation at the inn and on the way to the Devil’s Bridge
85. Chapter 84: The Devil’s Bridge
86. Chapter 85: Dinner at the Hospice
87. Chapter 86: Dafydd Ab Gwilym
88. Chapter 87: Start for Plynlimmon
89. Chapter 88: Plynlimmon, and back to the Devil’s Bridge
90. Chapter 89: Hafod
91. Chapter 90: Spytty Ystwyth
92. Chapter 91: Strata Florida, burial-place of Dafydd Ab Gwilym
93. Chapter 92: Rhyd Fendigaid to Tregaron
94. Chapter 93: Tregaron Church
95. Chapter 94: Llan Ddewi Brefi
96. Chapter 95: Lampeter to the Bridge of Twrch
97. Chapter 96: Llandovery
98. Chapter 97: Llandovery Church
99. Chapter 98: Llandovery to Gutter Vawr
100. Chapter 99: Inn at Gutter Vawr
101. Chapter 100: Gutter Vawr to Swansea
102. Chapter 101: Swansea
103. Chapter 102: Swansea to Neath
104. Chapter 103: Town of Neath, the Glowing Mountain
105. Chapter 104: Merthyr Tydvil
106. Chapter 105: Start for Caerfili
107. Chapter 106: Pen y Glas to Caerfili
108. Chapter 107: Caerfili
109. Chapter 108: Town of Newport
110. Chapter 109: Arrival at Chepstow

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Summary

Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery is a travel book by the English Victorian gentleman writer George Borrow (1803–1881), first published in 1862 and now a classic travel text on Wales and the Welsh. The book recounts Borrow's experiences, insights and personal encounters whilst touring Wales alone on foot after a family holiday in Llangollen in 1854. Although contemporary critics dismissed its whimsical tone, it quickly became popular with readers as a travel book and more importantly as a very lively account of the literary, social and geographical history of Wales. Borrow’s engaging character comes across especially in his meetings with various itinerants – mostly native and peasant – along the muddy Welsh path. Borrow’s keen ear for dialogue may remind us of a Dickens or Trollope, and like the latter his wit and wisdom are rarely absent. Indeed the author has been described as an "eccentric, larger-than-life, jovial man whose laughter rings all through the book". Borrow makes much of his self-taught Welsh and how surprised the natives are by his linguistic abilities – and also by his idiosyncratic pronunciation of their language. He loves to air his knowledge of Welsh culture, especially the Bardic tradition. And like his contemporary, William Wordsworth, he has a habit of quoting verses to the heavens as he walks. As the author finally reaches South Wales towards the end of his account, we meet for the first time evidences of modern industrialism, introduced to the reader in the form of a Dante’s Inferno of coal mines and iron foundries. Today, most will remember and value the book for these and other vivid nineteenth-century landscapes – along with Borrow’s gallery of fascinating, human characters.